A chilling ‘Carrie’ will light up the Egyptian Theatre
For the past couple years, the Egyptian Theatre has screened “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” to usher in Halloween.
Not this year.
Instead, the Egyptian Theatre’s YouTheatre program will team with Greenhouse Conservatory to present a different kind of theatrical Halloween experience: “Carrie the Musical.”
The production will open on Thursday.
“‘Carrie’ is such a Halloween classic,” director Amber Hansen told The Park Record. “It’s super creepy and really festive.”
The story is based on the 1974 Stephen King novel about Carrie White, a bullied 16-year-old who wreaks havoc on her tormentors.
The book was adopted for the screen by Brian DePalma in 1976.
A musical by Lawrence D. Cohen, Dean Pitchfork and Michael Gore came about 12 years later. The musical returned in an off-Broadway revival in 2012, and was again revived as an Off-West End Production and Los Angeles Production in 2015.
“The musical follows the story closely, but also takes a modern twist,” Hansen said. “While it could be set back in the 1970s or early 1980s, when the book was set, it also can be set in the modern day, because there are a lot of relevant themes like bullying that are prevalent in the story.”
Hansen had her own ideas when YouTheatre director Jamie Wilcox asked her to direct the musical.
“I had it in my head that the show would be campy and funny,” Hansen said. “Well, it’s not. It’s a serious story that deals with real issues.”
The production is also filled with pathos, regardless of the horror factor.
“It’s beautifully written musically and is very touching,” Hansen said. “And that has to do with the actors and the roles.”
The cast is comprised of local teens and adults.
The teens hail from the Greenhouse Conservatory, which is comprised of high school students who have gone through the entire YouTheatre program.
“These are the kids who are often too good for their high school musicals,” Hansen said. “This show is a chance for them to do a professional show.
“They are cast in age-appropriate roles and we have cast professional adult actors to play the adult roles,” Hansen said. “It’s a YouTheatre production, but not a typical YouTheatre production.”
Carrie is portrayed by Olivia Henry.
“She’s beautiful inside and out and brings a whole new level of vulnerability and beauty to the character,” Hansen said.
Carrie’s overbearing religious mother, Margaret, is played by Anne Considine-Olsen.
“Anne did a lot of theater in New York and moved to Utah 10 years ago, and she wanted to get back into acting and auditioned for the role,” Hansen said. “She really brings the creepy factor of the overbearing religious mother to the role.”
Hansen will make a cameo in the role of Ms. Stephens.
“The role was originally Mr. Stephens, but the actor couldn’t commit,” she said. “So, instead of casting another actor, I just decided to do it.”
The musical director Anne Puzey, of Utah Repertory Theatre and the choreographer is Stephanie Chace Bass.
“We will also have a live orchestra,” Hansen said.
Bret Hughes, Park City High School’s director of percussion, will lead the orchestra that is comprised of some of the school’s best student musicians.
Even with this top-of-the-line crew, the production was filled with puzzles Hansen had to solve.
“Since Carrie has secret powers, it posed a lot of challenges to bring this to the live stage,” she said. “The prom scene, where Carrie unleashes her powers, was especially difficult.” So, Hansen pulled out all the stops.
“The goal for that scene especially is to make the audience completely uncomfortable and we’re using all the technical stuff — video, props, lighting and fog,” she said. “The material is edgy, frightening and disturbing and there is some language. But it addresses some of the issues our community is addressing as well. It’s definitely full of horror and emotion.”
“I think people will see a show with youth actors that they haven’t seen at the Egyptian Theatre before,” Hansen said.
The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., will present a YouTheatre and Greenhouse Conservatory production of “Carrie the Musical” from Thursday, Oct. 27, to Saturday, Oct. 29. Evening curtain is 7:30 p.m. and there will also b be a 2 p.m. matinee on Oct. 29. The production contains some language, dark themes and mature subject matter. Tickets are $19 for adults and $14 for youths ages 17 and younger. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityshows.com.
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